We are Lindsay Vanderhoogt & Crystal Alba, Whistleblowers Sued by HSUS
Hi Reddit, we are Crystal Alba and Lindsay Vanderhoogt, whistleblowers who were sued by the Humane Society of the United States after we went public with detailed information about the lack of adequate veterinary care and the dismal living conditions that 79 (now only 77) former laboratory chimps were being subjected to at Project Chimps sanctuary in Georgia. This is a facility for retired research chimps, controlled and funded by the Humane Society of the United States. The sanctuary director is a full time HSUS employee. Proof
The lawsuit was later dropped after public backlash and we are still trying to raise awareness of poor conditions at the sanctuary and the attempts from HSUS to silence us. They even tried to have our AMA banned! We fully expect them to troll us in the comments but it’s nothing new for us.
These former research chimps spent their lives in biomedical research facilities. Project Chimps/HSUS made a deal with the research lab to accept these chimps (for a FEE!) and promised that they would provide the lifelong care and retirement that these chimps deserved. But PC/HSUS has failed, the chimps only have outdoor access for a few hours a week, enrichment is lacking, and they are confined to overcrowded dark concrete buildings for most of their days. Up until the whistleblowers went public, vet care was provided by a local small animal vet with no primate experience. As a result, infected wounds and critical parasite infections became common. A chimp got her teeth smashed in and was left with broken tooth fragments hanging from her mouth that she had to pull out on her own with no medical treatment. Many chimps have been at the sanctuary for 5 years and have yet to have a physical exam.
We spent years making internal complaints about poor care and documenting everything. Complaints were made to direct supervisors to start and eventually, over the course of 2018, ended with a complaint to the Board of Directors. After that proved fruitless, we went to the accrediting organization and OSHA. OSHA fined the sanctuary for multiple serious safety violations. In an attempt to pretend to take action, HSUS conducted an “Internal Investigation” that also went nowhere. The accrediting body quietly required the sanctuary to make changes here and there that ultimately backed up the whistleblower claims, while maintaining publicly that we were lying. Crystal was ultimately fired for making complaints to serve as a warning to other whistleblowers. She had been at the facility for 3 years, was promoted twice, and had no prior disciplinary actions. Lindsay had been forced to resign in 2018.
Prior to that, the original sanctuary manager was fired for whistleblowing in 2016 and the original veterinarian and assistant veterinarian (both with chimpanzee experience) were forced to resign for whistleblowing. At that time, HSUS was just a financial supporter but had slowly been gaining a board majority. Now they run the sanctuary and things have drastically declined
There's been a National Geographic article (they were also threatened with a lawsuit), primate experts and veterinarians who've backed up our concerns, and two chimp deaths since we started begging publicly for an intervention. The BoD at the sanctuary mostly consists of celebrities and HSUS employees. Judy Greer and Amber Nash are board members. Rachael Ray and Bill Maher are financial supporters.
We now have support from multiple grassroots animal welfare organizations who continue to help us spread the word and try to get HSUS to make meaningful changes in leadership at the sanctuary. The current leadership staff has no one with chimpanzee experience in charge of caring for 77 chimpanzees. All of this has to change.
Statement of from the Nonhuman Rights Project, Supporting Whistleblowers and calling on Project Chimps to make Changes
EDIT - just want to say that we got a message saying there’s hits out for us on the dark web. Surprised? No. Not at all.